In badass science news, they’ve built an aquatic gundam and they’re going to use it to search for a 2,000 year old computer that even Jacques Cousteau couldn’t find.
Filling the gap between a submarine and scuba gear, the Exosuit is an articulated rigid suit worn by a diver. It’s loaded with cool capabilities [PDF], including intercom, video and data communication links, a rad carbon dioxide scrubbing system, a whopping 50 hour emergency support system and intense pincer-grabber hands. However the primary feature is its ability to maintain surface pressure for up to 1,000 feet below—depths where an unprotected diver would almost certainly suffer decompression sickness. Powered by vertical and horizontal thrusters that are engaged by moving the diver’s feet, an umbilical link to a parent ship powers its movement, and voice, video and data links.
The Exosuit was designed by Nuytco Research, a marine robotic firm with a website worth poking around in. Priginally built for diving in “the bowels” of New York City’s water treatment plants (good one, New Scientist), the suit recently got a saltwater test at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to further explore its capabilities. By removing the possibility of the Bends, the Exosuit could radically change manned underwater exploration, making deep-sea sites accessible in entirely new ways.
Rigorous sea testing of the suit’s flexibility and durability is vital because it is slated for use on one of the world’s most exciting shipwrecks as soon as September. Known as the Antikythera Wreck, the site was discovered by sponge divers off the coast of Greek island of Antikythera in 1900. The site is 120m deep and at the time of its discovery, divers could spend a dangerous maximum of five minutes on the floor. Even then, several of the original divers suffered paralysis and one died of complications from decompression. But the discoveries on the ancient Greek wreck might have been worth it. In addition to statues, amphora and precious booty of all varieties, the ship offered up a very odd piece of machinery that went under the radar until the 1950s.
Via: Feedbin Starred Entries